Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Tehran rejects Amnesty’s toll of deaths in protests

AFP, TEHRAN

Iran yesterday rejected as “utter lies” unofficial casualty figures given for street violence that erupted last month during demonstrations against a shock decision to hike fuel prices.

Protests erupted in Iran on Nov. 15 after the announcement that gasoline prices were going up by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

Banks and gasoline stations were torched and shops looted in the violence which was quickly quashed by authorities who also imposed a week-long near-total Internet blackout.

“I explicitly announce that the numbers and figures that are being given by hostile groups are utter lies and the statistics have serious differences with what they announced,” Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

“They announced some numbers as well as some names... Their claimed numbers are sheer lies and fabricated,” he said in remarks aired on state television.

“The names they have given are also lies,” Esmaili said, adding that they included people who were still alive and others who passed away normally.

The authorities have not yet given any overall death toll for the unrest.

London-based Amnesty International on Monday said that at least 208 people were killed in the crackdown.

“The number of people believed to have been killed during demonstrations in Iran that broke out on 15 November has risen to at least 208, based on credible reports received by the organization,” it said.

Amnesty added that the actual number of people killed was likely to have been higher.

Esmaili accused foreign organisations and media of spreading “propaganda” and being behind the killings, adding that 300 people arrested over the unrest were still in custody in Tehran.

His remarks came after state television said on Monday night that security forces had no choice but to resort to “tough confrontation” when the violence broke out.

It also rejected reports in foreign media that had been “hyping up” the number of people killed.

US President Donald Trump yesterday said that Iran was killing thousands of people for protesting and urged the world to take more notice.

“Iran is killing perhaps thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak, that it why they cut off the Internet so people can’t see what is going on,” Trump said in London. “Not just small numbers which are bad, big numbers which are really bad, and really big numbers ... It is a terrible thing.”

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